Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Sep 22, 2021
President Joe Biden’s promise of fewer wars was greeted with some skepticism at the U.N. General Assembly, but both Washington and Beijing pledged to fight climate change. There’s great excitement in Britain after Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared just how many children he has fathered. And learn the fascinating tail behind the evolution of your coccyx.
President Joe Biden promised the end of “relentless war” in his address to the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, defending his decision to leave Afghanistan, but amid a diplomatic spat over nuclear submarines. His promise probably didn’t win over the Chinese delegation, with President Xi Jinping using his address afterwards to warn against military intervention. However, the two leaders both pledged to fight climate change: Xi promised to stop funding overseas coal projects and Biden committed $11.4 billion to environmental efforts in developing nations. Meanwhile, the Taliban have requested that their new envoy be allowed to address the General Assembly. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Guardian, NYT, BBC)
What do you think? Should the Taliban get a seat at the U.N.? Vote here or on Twitter.
2 - A Busy Johnson
British Leader Finally Confirms Number of Offspring
While important diplomatic discussions were taking place at the U.N., British tabloids were more interested in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s revelation on U.S. television that he has six children, after years of speculation over how many kids the 57-year-old has sired. The wild-haired leader, known as much for his gaffes as his governance, confirmed the number and assured viewers he changes a lot of diapers. Johnson has a son with his current wife, four children with his second wife and one daughter from an affair. The Daily Mail has suggested, however, that there might be a seventh. (Sources: Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Beast)
3 - Shutdown Shut Down
House Democrats Pass Bill Increasing Debt Limit
The lights are staying on — for now. No Republicans joined House Democrats in passing the bill 220-211 to keep the government running through Dec. 3 and lift the limits on federal borrowing until after midterm elections next year. Government funding is set to lapse Oct. 1, while the Treasury’s borrowing authority will reach its limit within weeks. The bill also includes $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild after natural disasters and $6.3 billion to resettle Afghan refugees. It’s expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to pass. (Sources: NYT, Al Jazeera, NBC)
4 - Chinese Phone Controversy
Lithuania Sounds Alarm Over Xiaomi ‘Censorship’
Throw away your phone! No, it's not a new movement to go off-grid or an extreme solution to work emails. Lithuania’s government is advising citizens with Chinese-made phones to ditch them over censorship concerns, saying devices sold by Xiaomi Corp have the capability to detect phrases like “Free Tibet” and “democracy movement.” Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said, “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible.” Meanwhile, U.S. security agencies are divided on whether to put Honor, Huawei’s former smartphone company, on a blacklist. (Sources: CNN, Washington Post)
5 - Also Important …
Officials have confirmed YouTuber Gabrielle Petito, whose body was recently discovered in a Wyoming forest, was killed in a homicide. Southern Australia has been hit by a rare 5.9 magnitude earthquake, causing damage to buildings. And former President Donald Trump has sued The New York Times and his niece over an article about his taxes.
Coronavirus Update: A couple with an immunocompromised infant were kicked out of a Texas restaurant for wearing masks. Brazil’s Health MinisterMarcelo Queiroga, who is at the UNGA, has tested positive for COVID-19.
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About 25 million years ago our ancestors lost the tails they used, first as fish to swim, later as primates to swing through the jungles. While Charles Darwin first spotted this evolutionary shift, he could never pinpoint exactly how our tails turned into a coccyx, or tailbone. A new study from the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine suggests it was a random mutation in apes. Researchers genetically engineered mouse embryos with the same mutation, resulting in tail-less mice. But scientists are still trying to figure out the evolutionary advantage of replacing such a useful appendage with a coccyx. (Sources: NYT, ZME Science)
2 - #EpikFail
Hack Releases Treasure Trove of Far-Right Data
Nothing to be proud of. An enormous leak from hacking collective Anonymous is providing valuable insight into the operations of the Proud Boys, QAnon and other far-right groups. The hackers breached Epik, a Seattle-based hosting company, releasing usernames, addresses and passwords. “The company played such a major role in keeping far-right terrorist cesspools alive,” said Rita Katz, director of a group that studies online extremism. Researchers are now wading through what’s being called “the Panama Papers of hate groups” for information on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and other events, a process they say could take years. (Sources: Washington Post, CNN)
3 - Bug Out
Could Insect-Based Dog Food Save the Earth?
Spot will soon be as happy as a dog in a butcher’s shop — only he'll be digging into black soldier fly larvae. Yum? Apparently it’s delicious, says Anne Carlson, founder of dog food startup Jiminy’s: Her Great Dane chooses kibbles made from plants and protein-rich cricket powder over meaty food. While many Americans are cutting back on animal products to reduce greenhouse gases from farming, their 180 million furry friends are still chowing down on meat. Researchers believe pets account for 30% of the environmental costs of meat consumption in the U.S., prompting even large companies like Nestle to develop insect-derived alternatives. (Sources: Washington Post, BBC)
4 - Ideological Ice Cream
New Coffee Flavor Supports the People’s Response Act
What does change taste like? According to Ben & Jerry’s it might be a scoop of their new “Change Is Brewing” flavor, which they’ve rolled out in support of the community safety bill proposed by Democratic Rep. Cori Bush. Her legislation aims to prevent police violence against people with substance abuse, behavioral or mental health issues. The social justice-supporting ice cream incorporates flavors of cold brew coffee — which comes from Black-owned company Blk & Bold — with fudge brownies and marshmallow swirls, and the carton features a Black woman painting the word “liberation.” Activism never tasted this good. (Sources: NBC, Delish)
Watch out for that surprise uppercut, Oleksandr Usyk. British IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has vowed to beat the Ukrainian in their much-anticipated bout Saturday. Usyk, 34, who only moved up to heavyweight in 2018 after being the cruiserweight champion, is undefeated but has much less experience than his rival. If Joshua beats him and WBC champ Tyson Fury defeats Deontay Wilder in October, it would set up an undisputed heavyweight title fight between Joshua and Fury — a match boxing fans have been dying to see. (Sources: AFP, Sky Sports)
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Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Billionaire, co-founder of LinkedIn, partner at Greylock and host of the Masters of Scale podcast Reid Hoffman joins Carlos for an eye-opening discussion that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to hear. Hoffman discusses the importance of being a “student of decisioning,” why you should rethink what you define as a mistake, and why the future of tech lies in a marriage of software and biology. Why does Hoffman say America will see far more progress if we follow the Constitution with a “permanent beta” approach?
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